Author: Gravaja Umbros PM
After saving the world from the Grave Eclipse Matthew and Sveta learn that the other returns their love. It looks like happily ever after is just around the corner, but is it? Politics, fear, and conspiracies will make love anything but easy!Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Matthew & Sveta - Chapters: 7 - Words: 22,604 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 09-01-12 - Published: 01-26-12 - id: 7776871
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
In the end, the assassin escaped again. He never got remotely close to Sveta, so it was still better than it could've gone. While they were waiting to be let out of their basement room Matthew learned about the previous attempts against Sveta. The Champa had been on a roof nearby when Sveta was heading into town. He leapt at her with a sword drawn. Sveta was able to jump out of the way, and her guard quickly dispatched him. Spirit Sense revealed that he had indeed been planning on killing Sveta, but they couldn't tell whether he was on his own or working with someone.
The second was a beastman, and a light adept. Sveta had just finished delivering a speech and was on her way back to the palace when he struck. He waited in a nearby alley and launched a light beam as Sveta passed. Sveta was blinded for a moment, but rolled away from her attacker by instinct. Some of the guard had been out of the range of the light beam, and quickly retaliated. The assassin tried to escape, and rather than risk his escape he was shot through the head by a bowman. Again, Spirit Sense failed to reveal much. He had been trying to kill Sveta, and apparently knew of the previous attack, but they couldn't confirm whether he was working with the Champa or if he just knew of the attack.
Finally, there was the Ayuthay. He snuck into the palace and used a sleep bomb. Sveta was able to stay awake, but the guards nearest her fell asleep. He got close enough to swing at Sveta a few times with a dagger. She dodged, and kicked him away before the rest of her guard got close enough. He followed up with a smoke bomb and escaped. The guard was pretty sure it was the same man they had seen earlier, but he never entered the palace this time. They also thought he might've had someone else with him this time, but they couldn't be sure. Whoever was behind this, assuming there was a mastermind behind everything, was very good at their job.
"You don't think it could be Alex, do you dad?"
Isaac shook his head. "I wouldn't think so. Alex has studied Sveta. He knows how she thinks and acts. Better for him that she be queen than someone he's unfamiliar with. Not that Sveta would willingly let him manipulate her, but it's not like he comes out and tells you he's behind everything. I wouldn't put it past him to hire assassins who he knew would never succeed, though I have no clue why he'd do that. It's just the sort of elaborate plan he might use. Still, my instincts tell me it's not him." Isaac frowned. "I can't say the same about the Tuaparang though. I've never had any dealings with them. I haven't a clue how they might operate. Plus, now that Alex isn't with them they might be operating completely differently than they had been. I wouldn't know what to look for to judge if this was Tuaparang. You'd be much better at that than me."
Matthew thought about it. The Tuaparang had operated through others previously. Especially if they wished to perform an assassination, he could see them avoiding using their own soldiers. Still, the Tuaparang were in much the same position as Alex. Sveta was a known factor. So long as she was in charge they could guess what decisions she would make. She was a dangerous foe for them, but she was too busy rebuilding her own nation to go after them. Morgal wasn't really doing anything that Matthew thought would attract the Tuaparang.
So who did that leave? Sveta had said that some of the people of Morgal resented her reign. Still, most loved her. If an assassin from Morgal were discovered the rest of the population would tear them apart. Possibly literally. Kaocho was doing everything to appease its neighbors, even if everyone knew they hated everyone. If Kaocho was behind this it was a much bigger risk than they could afford to take. Champa, Ayuthay, and Morgal would all attack if it was discovered. Kaocho couldn't afford a war on one front right now, let alone on three. Bilibin was still officially at war with Morgal, though the two nations were currently under a ceasefire. Bilibin blamed Morgal for the Grave Eclipse, and would've loved to get revenge, but assassination didn't seem their style. Besides, the ceasefire was in part because many of the Bilibins were afraid that Morgal was capable and willing to restart the Grave Eclipse. It was a great deterrent, even if it was completely false. Still, if another nation was behind it, it almost had to be Bilibin.
However, if this was the work of a small group of individuals rather than a nation, that meant it could be almost anyone. They could be from multiple nations, much like the assassins they worked with. They could have multiple goals. There was really no limit to who it could be. That frightened Matthew more than the thought of war with Bilibin.
Matthew and Isaac were invited to join Sveta and her court for dinner, after which Isaac was able to speak with Sveta privately for a while. He knew Sveta hadn't agreed to date Matthew, and agreed not to press it. Still, he wanted to meet the woman his son had fallen in love with. Matthew just prayed that Isaac wouldn't embarrass him.
To his surprise, shortly after Sveta finished talking with Isaac she asked Matthew to come in. This time the two of them were not alone. Milena and Vande, as well as a number of guards were also present.
"Matthew, your father is quite a wonderful man."
"I'm glad you think so."
"He has convinced me of something," she said. "Before you get too excited, it is not what you think. However, I had been going to ask you both to leave in the morning. Isaac convinced me that I was not being responsible. If you are willing, I will take you on as my personal bodyguard."
"Of course," Matthew said happily. "It would be my honor."
Sveta smiled. "Good. Just realize, this does not mean that I've changed my mind regarding our previous discussion."
"So be it," Matthew agreed. Still, he had made progress.
That morning, before Isaac left, he took Matthew aside. "I have a bad feeling about Sveta's situation," he said.
"You mean her and me, or her and the assassins?"
"The assassins. So, I'm going to leave you with a few things to help out. First of all, you can have Flint back."
Matthew had given Flint back to his father when they arrived home. Matthew had been making due with eight Djinn since then. He had gotten used to having nine, so it felt nice to have Flint back.
"Next, there are a few items I'd like to give you." Isaac held out his hands, with an item in each. "This," he said, holding up an oval-shaped golden gemstone, "is the Halt Gem. I assume you recall well enough what it does?"
Matthew nodded. It was apparent enough in its name. It stopped whatever you used it on, keeping them from escaping. Unfortunately, the concentration required to use it meant that you couldn't use it during battle. Still, it could be very useful.
"And the Lash Pebble," Isaac said, presenting the other item. It allowed one to use psynergy to tie knots at a distance. Such precise use of psynergy was nearly impossible otherwise. Felix's group had acquired it at the Kandorean Temple, but had been given to Isaac later. During the Golden Sun journey it was used it to tie ropes between chasms, but Matthew had seen his father use it in a number of more mundane uses since then.
"I just wish I could give you the Cloak Ball. That is a very impressive artifact, however, Ivan has ours."
Matthew had seen his father use the Cloak Ball a few times. It allowed one to become invisible, providing they weren't in direct light. On a cloudy enough day the user could be invisible outside in the middle of the day. Other adepts could detect a person's presence, but only when very close, and even then they couldn't get the exact location. Matthew could think of numerous ways that could be useful here.
"I don't know if these will come in handy or not, but it never hurts to be prepared. Feel free to send me a pigeon if you need anything."
"Don't worry, dad, I'll be fine."
Isaac patted Matthew on the shoulder. "I'm sure you will be. You're a good man. I'm proud of you."
Matthew was worried, but was determined to protect Sveta. If he was lucky, he would be able to prove to her that they could be together without endangering anybody. Even if that failed, at least he could help keep her safe, and maybe get to the bottom of this plot.
Thus, Matthew was able to begin spending all day with Sveta. Surprisingly, it wasn't all that he had hoped it would be. Mostly, as a bodyguard, he was supposed to keep from standing out. He wasn't to speak unless he had to, and ideally wasn't to be noticed at all. This was not very likely, since he was the only guard who wasn't beastman, and his unique equipment stood out from the standard Morgal guard armor. His equipment was far superior to the standard uniform, and judged to be worth standing out a bit. At one point Sveta told him she was jealous, because she was more used to her combat armor than she was the royal gowns and the gowns didn't offer much protection. What made Matthew stand out the most, though, was that he was Matthew. He was a national hero. Once the people realized he was there to stay for a while they stopped cheering in the streets for him when he passed, but he still got far more attention than he wanted.
"So what was it like?" another guard, named Kolya whispered to Matthew as they followed behind Sveta while she went to inspect some of the repairs being made to the town. Kolya was a fairly typical wolfish beastman, and not a light adept.
"Traveling with the queen! Saving the world! It must've been so exciting!"
"It was exciting, I suppose," Matthew admitted. "But not in a good way. We lost a lot of good friends. Even when we didn't see the people killed, we knew what the Eclipse was doing."
"Well... yeah, there is that," Kolya said. "But traveling with such great warriors must've had it's upsides too."
"Yes, there were. We're all great friends now."
"I've seen Karis. She's quite the looker. Did you and her ever have anything?"
"Me and Karis? No. We've never been like that."
Kolya looked towards Sveta and smirked. "Maybe you go more for the regal type."
"I'm asking if you and the queen ever... got close."
"T-that's none of your business," Matthew said, turning slightly red.
"Interesting," Kolya said. "With Karis you'll tell me right away that there was nothing. With the queen you blush, stutter, and now it's none of my business."
Matthew wished he had a good way to refute that.
"You'd be cute together," he added. "I think the queen should marry, and the sooner the better."
"Even if she married a human?"
He shrugged. "Some humans, like you, are far better men than most the beastmen I've met. It's not about race, but character." Matthew nodded at that. It made sense, but politics didn't always go along with common sense. "The real question, is how are we going to set the two of you up."
"Wait, the wha-?"
"I mean, you're not together right now, right?"
"I can't just tell her to date you, so I've got to be sneaky."
"Please don't," Matthew groaned. He appreciated the support, but he couldn't see this ending well.
"Maybe, I disguise myself and fake an attack on her. You save her and be the knight in shining armor."
"Does it occur to you that two of the three people who have attacked her recently are dead?"
"Good point, good point," he nodded, rubbing his chin. "Maybe if we-"
"Do you do this sort of thing for all your friends?"
"Of course," he said without thinking. "Admittedly, it would've been good if I'd known beforehand that my roommate's girl was allergic to that flower, but live and learn."
"So your roommate and the girl ended up together anyway?"
"No, but I tried is the point. Even if his nose doesn't heal properly."
"She broke his nose!"
"He can still breath just fine," he reassured. "It just makes this squeaking noise when he breathes in."
"Look, as much as I appreciate what you want to do for me, why don't you just leave it alone."
"It's not a problem," he said, waving Matthew's words off. "We're comrades now, it's what we do."
"I hope you're not planning on disturbing the queen?"
Kolya jumped away from the voice. "L-lord Vande! I'm so sorry, I didn't see you there!"
"Not much of a bodyguard then, are you?"
"Forgive me," he said, bowing his head.
"You, however, seemed unsurprised," Vande said, looking at Matthew.
"Of course," Matthew nodded at the musician. "You're not that sneaky, Vande."
Vande smiled. "You know, it's good to not hear 'lord' or 'sir' in front of my name."
They followed as Sveta moved on from her inspection back towards the castle. "I am glad you're here to help protect Sveta," Vande said. "I feel much better with you watching her."
"Thank you," Matthew said, blushing a little.
"If you have any questions, please feel free to ask."
There was one thing Matthew was curious about. "In that case, why did they appoint a musician as one of Sveta's top advisers? No offense, I just thought I'd have found you playing music in the town square, not playing politician in the castle."
Vande laughed. "I would like nothing more than to just go back to my music. Unfortunately, after the Grave Eclipse we're a little strapped for personnel. I was a close friend of Volechek's. We had much the same education, so I'm pretty politically savvy. Plus, with me always playing in the town square I'm a face that people recognize. They thought that people might feel better knowing that I was helping to lead Morgal."
"I see," Matthew said, still keeping an eye out for any potential threats to Sveta. "I hadn't realized you were so important in Morgal."
"Like I said, I wouldn't be as important had we not lost some of the people we did. Still, my family is fairly well off, and well respected in Belinsk. As a matter of fact, my family is related to Sveta's family. Only by marriage, so we're not part of the Fang clan, but since Sveta's the last member of her family I'm about the closest thing to a relative she has."
"Vande, come take a look at this," Sveta called.
Kolya watched him go, and let out a big breath after he was far enough away not to hear. "I thought he'd never leave."
"Don't you like Vande?"
"Oh, yes, very much," he answered. "But I get nervous when the nobles actually talk to me. Besides that, if we have any enemies, it's him."
"Yes, in the way of your romancing Sveta. I know some of the nobles are strongly hinting that Sveta and Vande should get married, and since he was good friends with her brother she's known him for years. They're pretty close already. We need to work fast if we want to get you in ahead of Vande."
"Isn't he related to Sveta?"
"By marriage only. Besides, they'd rather she marry a noble cousin than an unrelated peasant."
Matthew frowned. He hadn't expected there to be competition for Sveta. In hindsight it was obvious that she would have other suitors. She was a young, beautiful, intelligent, powerful queen. Matthew realized he'd be lucky if Vande was the only other potential suitor.
"Hmm, maybe you could deal with Queen Sveta in your own way, and I can keep Vande from interfering. I'm thinking itching powder in his-"
"Don't you dare," Matthew said. "I can deal with my love life well enough on my..." Matthew hesitated. "Do you feel that?"
He noticed that Sveta and Vande were looking around as well, trying to tell what it was they were sensing. It seemed to tug at his psynergy.
There was a loud scream from the city square. "Vortex!"
Author's Notes: Well, that chapter took longer than I expected, and I did less in the chapter than I expected. My whole family has been sick all week. That leaves me in no mood to write, but more importantly means that everyone is home and everyone wants to use the computer. But, I finished and even left you all with a lovely cliffhanger! Hope you liked the chapter.
Before you review (and I know you were planning on reviewing) I have two questions to ask you folks. One, would you like to see review replies in my end author's notes? Usually I enjoy seeing that in other people's stories, but I could understand if you think it's just more fluff for you to skip through. So, review replies? Yes or no? Second, I have plans on releasing a number of one shots taking place in this canon. These would be in addition to my weekly chapter, not replacing a chapter, so you wouldn't have to worry about that being delayed any. The one shots will be put out much less frequently, perhaps one a month. Anyway, I have a few in mind and want to know which you guys are the most interested in seeing first. They'll probably all get written sooner or later, so this is just a question of which I should make my priority. Also, none of these will be necessary to keep up with "Kindred Spirits", so don't worry about that. Here are your options:
1: Amiti's birth- The story of Amiti's birth. How much does Veriti really know about the father? How much does Alex really care about Veriti? Does he know he has a son? Everything you need to know about that will be answered!
2: Isaac and Jenna's wedding- Isaac and Jenna are getting married. Jenna loves Isaac with all her heart, but Isaac fears he's making a terrible mistake. A little romance, a lot of angst. Nothing new to the plot here that wasn't covered in this or "Learning from the Past" but still should be an interesting story.
3: Blados and Chalis after the Eclipse- The last we saw in the game at the Apollo Lens, Blados and Chalis were still alive. Did they survive? Did the party just leave them there? If they did survive, what are they doing now? This story would probably be the shortest of these three, and thus come out soonest if I choose it.
So which do you find most interesting? Let me know, and I'll go with what you guys want!